Save the Planet, Get Grounded, Think Clearly

Although we should be looking at what we can do every day in order to live more responsibly in the world, today that conversation may be louder due to global protests and profound activists. The vegan message is loud, but that’s no solution because massive amounts of industrialized soy and corn are needed to make those fake meat burgers, which is enormously damaging, as is all industrialized farming.

I see lots of people rave about cheap food in Mexico; food is cheap for a lot of reasons, and the industrialized methods are just as prevalent in Mexico as they are with our neighbors to the north. You can eat at Pollo Feliz and watch truckloads of fat, diseased chickens drive by on their way to slaughter, it’s that viceral.

I see people on the pro-meat side of the world encouraging meat eating to save the planet, and none of it means a thing if you source your meat or vegetables from industrialized chemical farms. There’s no easy solution, but maybe together we can help each other be more accountable to our choices.

It goes deeper than the label, deeper than the price. Head swirling with all there is to think about…. get grounded, go local, be present, cut out the middleman, think clearly. Peace out from this ol’Farm Crone #regenerativeagriculture

Autumn Equinox at Cañada de la Virgen

Mid-September is a gorgeous time on Cañada de la Virgen; fruits and vegetables are coming into full maturation, the days are a bit cooler and ending a bit earlier, insects are moulting into their next carnation, and the full Harvest Moon put on a grand show in the clear dark skies of Central Mexico. I love spending time on the farm and enjoying the fruits of the season, so incredibly special.

Easter at Rancho Cañada de la Virgen

I could not be more delighted to be aligned with Central Mexico’s only certified organic cattle ranch and federally protected sanctuary, Cañada de la Virgen. I’ve been aware of this ranch and it’s owners from the first month I began making grass-fed beef, because their products went in the shelves the same month as the beef products I was producing. In the ensuing months, I watched as their products became more professional; their labels became more informed and I remember declaring to myself, “they are in it to WIN IT.” I studied their pricing structure because I was basically winging it and following prices in America, which made no sense to apply those rigors in Mexico. I searched the internets to discover more about Cañada de la Virgen, and although I found much information about their sacred pyramid and the tourism it supports, I found very little about their beef production. I was intrigued.

I then found myself without a ranch and a place to do business. It was a terrifying time once again, as I had no idea what I was going to do and how I was going to support myself. I quietly crawled through this muck and mire of disillusionment, yet my determination to work in the cattle industry could not be extinguished. Somehow I was going to find a way.

A few weeks later, I received a message to contact Sophia Trapp, the owner and director of Cañada de la Virgen. I knew very little about her, she was this mysterious female cattle rancher living in Mexico, raising her children and carrying on her mother’s work. I had to know her.

I met Sophia and after some initial conversations, I learned her mission was to make and have available clean meat for the mothers of Mexico. Most of the good meat produced in Mexico is exported, leaving the sub-par cuts of meat here at home for the people of Mexico. Sophia has stayed true to this mission, as the meat is packaged for ease of cooking and consumption for mom’s making meals at home. I totally respect this mission and believe in it as well. On about our third meeting, she said, “Why aren’t you working with us? We love your passion and dedication to this industry, and where else in the world would I find someone that gets the spiritual side of sacrificing cows?”

It’s been an amazing education to work the Cañada de la Virgen team, and I will always think of them as my family and friends. We’ve done amazing work together, put the business on the national map, and we now sell organic grass-fed, grass-finished meat throughout all of Mexico.

I spent Easter weekend with the family at the Hacienda, and I absolutely love the opportunity to stick my hands and feet into the sacred and magical dirt of Cañada de la Virgen, and hope to return in the years to come.

Cows have a hold over us, and once you develop a passion for them, it will never leave you.” —Werner Lampert, The Cow, A Tribute

A Portal Named San Diego

 

For some time now, I’ve been searching for a way to get back to the Mother Country, back into the fold, to expand my business, my network, my craft and career. Yet I kept coming up against a big fat stupid wall, and could see no clear path before me. The work I’ve done in Mexico has been like no other work; I’ve had monumental experiences with cattle ranching, butchering, and ethical meat like I never would in America, yet it has all whet my whistle to want to experience more — and become a stronger advocate. I’m extremely grateful to the people and places that have presented and provided opportunities in the past few years, ay Chihuahua what an education!

Somehow along the way while in Mexico, I lost contact with the family I once knew, and it’s been quite odd to no longer have a home nor place in America — anywhere in America. I’ve never been okay with this lack of status. Thankfully, I’ve come to know a vital and strong local community, and continue to meet new friends and allies within my sketching and ethical meat communities.

I’ve had a desire to get back to America for some time now, even as the country marinates in a strange orange hue. My schemes and dreams have often awakened me in the wee hours of the night, because I’m not ready to live full time in a retirement town. There’s still much more to sort out, yet I found a portal opportunity in San Diego, California — and I couldn’t be more delighted to cast the net in that direction.

I’ve been approved to teach “Sketch Balboa Park” as an Airbnb Experience, and I begin in May, as I will be there for an extended Memorial Day holiday. I’m excited to stay at a friend’s house and dog sit her brilliantly bouncy dog, Belle. I’m bringing Art Leap Adventures with me, as it’s time to make it a legit business and expand my efforts into America and market to a larger audience. I’ll to continue to organize sketch tours to Mexico, partner with more top-notch instructors, and explore the fascinating and diverse country that is Mexico.


It’s good to learn how to sketch, and I’ll continue to encourage people to do so. We all need a break from our screaming phones, no?

I am not abandoning my ethical meat and cattle welfare efforts; in fact I feel as though I’ve gone as far as I could in Mexico, and now it’s time to take it home. I continue to stay current with the Regenerative Agriculture communities of America, yet it’s certain more will be revealed when I’m on the ground. Meat is so mysterious in America, mostly fast and cheap, as is much of the food these days. Now it’s my turn to follow my own advice to find a local farmer and hold him or her tight — because I’ll need a local source for good clean meat and bones.


Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I’m so excited to get back to America!